Jaclyn Ciamillo

Come along and enjoy the ride.

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What are we doing?

Besides our initial attack after 9/11 when I was emotionally charged and, admittedly, irrationally vengeful, I've never believed that bombing the Middle East is a reasonable strategy for peace. I won't lie, I was recently conflicted about Syria because I cannot stand to see innocent, defenseless people being harmed, but, ultimately, I recognize that bombs don't end wars. They may end battles, but they leave emotional scars, assumptions and beliefs in their wake. They destroy lives and physical environments; it takes years and years to repair what they damage... And in some cases, like buildings I've seen in the city of Pescara, nothing will ever be replaced after war. These unresolved remnants of the past things eventually light the flame for more battles... And then the cycle repeats.

I'm not some hypocritical liberal ignoring what Obama did with drone warfare, etc... I didn't agree with it and still don't. I feel the same way with Trump today. I also regret my support after 9/11 with the Bush administration to invade Afghanistan.

Bombs don't take out grassroots movements and decentralized networks in uprising. You know what does? Empathy, education, tolerance, and time. Our nation's actions speak louder than our words. Freedom does not validate bombing people's homes, killing their family members (regardless if we believe they're 'wrong' or 'right'), dictating how they should live, telling them what to feel, etc. Does all this sound familiar? It's the same situation in our current state of national politics today. Compliance-based approaches won't and don't create longterm change. We're naive to think that one large bomb will take out a decentralized network like ISIS. That's not how it works.

My biggest fear with the recent decisions to use force is that we'll find more hate in the world than what existed in the first place. Looking back over the last 15+ years since 9/11, my heart says the US hasn't learned from it's mistakes that began in the Bush Era... Thousands of dead troops and civilians later, gutted foreign relationships, and a fear-driven population is the result of 'going in' and starting a war.

Beyond the frequent use of bombs and lack of military strategy this month, I'm also wondering how it is possible that so many of our people in the country are actively ignoring the red flags with the occupants of our White House. People are generally being fooled by our POTUS. All these bombs are distracting citizens from news that multiple sources, most recently the British, found ties between Trump's administration and Russia. Our election was rigged! True Democracy doesn't matter anymore apparently. How is that something so many people overlook? It's Idiocracy. Other things to note- Trump is set to spend the same amount of Obama's travel budget for 8 years in just a few months and there are various conflicts of interest with his businesses and government position. There are threats our general population faces on major issues that will impact our children and their children- lack of climate protections and the denial of science and legitimate research of scientists, the all-male decision makers deciding to reduce women's rights, LGBTQ equalities at stake, student protections repealed (disabled not cared for and economic protections lifted), systemic racism and skyrocketing police violence rates again black Americans, losses for animal rights activists, and more. 

America, what are we doing?

Doc's wise words

"I'm trying to shift the things that I do to be extra moderate. In other words, I try to be as healthy as possible and there is the key. Health is more than the mere absence of disease, it's the presence of a superior state of well-being. A pizzazz and vitality. It has to be worked for each and every day of your life. You cannot get it in a bottle or from Dr. Phil... It's got to be gotten through diet and exercise and rest and recreation and attitudes and mind working all together every day of your life."

Dorian 'Doc' Paskowitz

WEEK-END #1

 

Hey there,

Welcome to the WEEK-END, a recap of some of the things I've read over the last several days. 

Enjoy these links as you chill on your couch or hang out at the playground with your kids.

 

Click-worthy Links

 

Seattle Ladies — Worthwhile Networking: Join SheSays, an online and offline Seattle Networking Group that focuses on women helping other women gain professional opportunities. Guys, share the link with you female family and friends.

Good vibes to you!

 

Flashback: By listening, I slowly gained more energy...

When I was in my final year at Hunter College, I decided to complete my 6 outstanding credits while studying in Pescara, Italy. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

As I spent time abroad learning the Italian language, I soon discovered the value of active listening. Being out of my comfort zone intensified my educational experience as I remained suspended in a new level of vulnerability. I couldn't hide from fear of the unknown, I had to conquer it.

When I’m curious about something I love to talk and question it until there’s nothing left to explore. I enjoy deep, intimate conversations, and make sure to break them up with a laugh from time-to-time. The thing is, I couldn’t do that in Italy for a while... I had to focus so much on decoding the unfamiliar words that floated in my direction that there was no time for crafting a response.

More recently, I had a friend that didn’t speak for 10 days while on a silent retreat. I rejected the idea that I could do that until it hit me… I already did it in Italy. I enjoyed listening to people's stories about adventure, heartbreak, personal career goals, feminism, astrology, and other random things, like cooking and meditation. It was a game to understand what people were saying to me.

By listening, I slowly gained more energy to read and write... I became more present and mindful of my surroundings and naturally began to filter out negative thoughts and insecurities. Even the food began to taste better.

As I took time to get to know myself and just breathe, I became healthier. My morning routine included long walks on the Adriatic coast as the sun rose in the distance and a light breakfast with fresh orange juice upon my return. I slept 8 hours most nights. Rarely did my stomach become too full and stretched from overeating. I no longer worried about what other people thought of me. I accidentally uncovered how to live a life that had just the right amount of everything, or as the Swedish say, “lagom".

By become a better listener, I grew into a tolerant person. I am now less absolute about my opinions and beliefs. In fact, If there’s a case for change and it aligns with my values, I’ll happily flipflop. In opening myself up during my time studying abroad, I realized that I liked who I saw in the mirror more than I ever imagined I could.

We can reinvent ourselves.

"As fragile and inauthentic as our identities are, Bowie let us (and still lets us) believe that we can reinvent ourselves. In fact, we can reinvent ourselves because our identities are so fragile and inauthentic. Just as Bowie seemingly reinvented himself without limits, he allowed us to believe that our own capacity for changes was limitless. Of course, there are limits - profound limits, mortal limits - in reshaping who we are. But somehow, in listening to his songs - even now - one hears an extraordinary hope that we are not alone and this place can be escaped, just for a day."

— Simon Critchley, in his book Bowie (2014)

A Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide

For last-minute Charlie: A cool list of holiday gifts

 

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

There's only one earth.

Today I'm sad.

I woke up and learned that while still alive and being filmed, an internationally protected whale shark was sawed into pieces in China. The animal was clearly in pain as it was being chopped up. Where's the humanity?

"Protected" means they're close enough to extinction that they need to be left alone. After all the news, conversations, and learnings around Cecil the Lion, ivory poachers threatening the existence of elephants and rhinos, radiation causing flowers to mutate, major drinking water droughts, reduced depths in fresh water lakes, rivers and streams killing fish, the entire North Pacific Gyre issue, and so on, I am beside myself. Change needs to happen. 

Why is it so hard to connect the dots and consider the severity of human beings actions? Whether we're killing animals or destroying nature, it's all related.

Ignorance is killing us and the earth. I truly wish people would stop living with an unsustainable consumerist mentality. "By the time you die, we're going have a new layer on the earth- plastic," as my Oceanography professor, Bob Gotsche, told me almost 10 years ago. We kill the different animal species that are a part of the bigger ecosystem, pollute the oceans with our excessive "needs," and add toxins and pesticides into the soil/on plants... It's killing the honey bees that keep us alive! I can go on forever about all the issues, but I won't. 

There's one earth. We all need to take the responsibility to protect our planet and the animals that live on it. We ourselves are animals, too. We are not above any other living thing that shares the world with us. We are all connected. 

 

We should be asking ourselves: Why?

*Originally published 9/4/14*

We should be asking ourselves why: A response to Wired’s commenters.

After reading some comments on Wired’s article, ‘Obama’s New CTO Pick Is a Massive Win for Women in Tech‘, I feel compelled to write a response.

First, this is a win for all women, not just Megan Smith.

If more female role models are being hired into executive positions like these, and they are supported to be active thought leaders in the US, we are bound to see an increase in the ratio of males to females in the technology industry over time. I would even argue that this may contribute to a decrease of general male and female skepticism of women leaders, and will contribute to the increase of female business leaders in the US. Did you know according to the US Census in 2010 the top five jobs for women included secretary, cashier, elementary/middle school teacher, nurse and nursing aide? AND an increase of half a million administrative assistants is expected by 2020. We should be asking ourselves why. *Read more here*

It’s not because women “just aren’t interested in technology.” There are plenty of ladies that want a place in this part of world history (yes, I said it–history.) We just don’t completely fit into it because of modern day gender roles. Within the US (and other countries) cultural norms hold our gender back. As society changes so will our beliefs about equality and individual purpose… Behaviors of the masses will change, too. I believe this shift will happen over a [very] long period of time if it becomes an every day discussion in the media, if it is reflected in government initiatives/programs and in schools and alternative education, and most importantly, at home.

The notion that most women have zero interest in tech is silly, offensive and outright naive. I know 500+ women in my network that are very much involved and fighting to get their foot in the door in all types of companies in the tech world. Remember, I’m one little node in a vast world of nodes, lurkers, influencers, and more. A solution to fix this is to ALL hold ourselves accountable to change our mindsets, judgements and behaviors. They should represent our desire to have an equal playing (and paying) field in here in the US and throughout the world. We will all be better off!

I noticed feelings from others commenting that there is finger pointing about male misogynists holding females back. Yes, there are, and several at that. This is a reality. Speaking from personal experience over the last 11 years, I’ve been discriminated against and sexually harassed because of my gender, in and out of the tech space. I’ve never done anything to deserve it. My values are my guide in life. These unfortunate events have happened to me in different industries and markets throughout my career. To the people saying “we’re not all misogynists,” I believe you. I don’t think all men hate women in tech or business. My boyfriend, four brothers, colleagues, and many male friends enable me to understand that not all men today think like that. It is possible that you, unlike many others (male and female), believe in equality and have socially progressive views. The thing is, despite the positive support I have in my life the “He-Man Woman Haters Club,” is still alive, dare I say thriving.

Here’s more information for you to think about:

According to Forbes’ 2014 Fortune 1000 list, only 5.2% of CEOs are women. That’s it! Again, we should be asking ourselves why, but also, what can we do to change it?

Here’s an excerpt from an interesting article on STEM Fields and the Gender Gap (again by Forbes):

“The problem starts as early as grade school. Young girls are rarely encouraged to pursue math and science, which is problematic considering studies show a lack of belief in intellectual growth can actually inhibit it. In addition, there exists an unconscious bias that science and math are typically “male” fields while humanities and arts are primarily “female” fields, and these stereotypes further inhibit girls’ likelihood of cultivating an interest in math and science.

Popular culture plays a role, as well. Girls grow up seeing women in powerful positions as doctors and lawyers on TV, but the media continues to promote stereotypes when it comes to programmers, often portraying them as geeky men.”
*Read more here*

So, yeah. This small win has the capability to contribute to a larger success that women in technology and other industries are desperate seeking. My big ask is that we all become a bit more sensitive and curious about gender biased jokes, accepted, unquestioned societal roles, solutions for our future and generations to come, and lastly, how we fit into the shaping of our history. Thanks for reading.

*Congratulations to Megan!*

Stockholm Summer

*Originally published 7/28/14*

The Swedish summer, there's nothing like it. Especially when you're visiting as the government issues the country's first heat warning ever.

Last Saturday marked the start of a one month long trip to Sverige for me. This visit is extra special because it involves more than a few days at Telefonplan with my colleagues. On top of Hyper Islanding, I'll be road tripping around the country for 2 glorious weeks.

Many Swedes are away, so Telefonplan has been eerily quiet. In fact, Stockholm itself is a ghost town because of industrial vacation that happens each year in the summer.

My journey has been spent meeting new and old friends and sometimes playing strategic post-dinner board games (e.g. Citadel). We tossed in a last minute weekend trip to the Stockholm Archipelago, staying in Kalvsvik. The home we stayed in faces east and has  water views of the Baltic Sea. There we drank many glasses of delicious wines, ate tasty cheeses on hard bread, enjoyed a fresh smoked salmon for dinner, and kept each other company with the exchange of personal stories. During dessert I laughed so hard that I cried uncontrollably. Those are the kind of days I long for all the time.

One morning during a walk we picked wild berries growing in bushes along the path. Every few feet we stopped to snack on strawberries, raspberries and blueberries that grow freely in the countryside. I also took a couple of minutes to admire the neighbor's farms that had horses wandering freely.

When we couldn't handle the hot sun on our skin any longer, we retreated to the water where I reverted back to a child-like state almost immediately. We all sprinted to the end of a dock showing off our signature dives and moves while secretly trying to win the unspoken competition of who would have the best photo from the weekend.

When the time came to go, I felt myself resisting the idea of being back in the city and I took my time packing the bags. Our summer house was quite "mysigt" and for the first time during this warm season I felt completely relaxed. My weekend was kanon!

The adventure in Scandinavia has started. I can't wait to share the rest of it as we go... Stops include Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Karlskrona, Gotland, Linkoping, and more.

Stay tuned.

Summer Vacation: A Tribute

*Originally published on 8/28/2014*

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When I hear the words "Summer Vacation" my mind immediately takes me back to the many years my parents took us to VT.

"Why can't we stay in New York?" six voices would whine as my mother drove our fully packed suburban to a little gray house in the country. For 2 months my siblings and I were taken away from our friends and forced to use our collective imaginations to pass the time.

Our tools were bikes, anything found in the woods, board games, books, and the minimal, yet continuously used Wiffle ball and bat.

Many 13 inning Wiffle Ball games and relay races took place on my neighbor's rectangular shaped property. Down at the lake, a cannonball competition was our typical closing ceremony to end a long day. Fortunately, we also had an aluminum row boat equipped with a small engine. Despite having a boating license, I rarely won it over from my brother, an early riser and dedicated fisherman.

Those summer days called for eggs and toast at breakfast, except the weekends when my mom made pancakes for my father who drove up after working Monday-Friday.

Then there was the coupon challenge that took place mid-week when we were running low on the food my parents bought the previous Saturday. My mother made a game out of saving money and we all used to go through the newspaper together, seeking out the best coupons and deals while sorting them into their respective piles... Dairy, vegetables, fruits, cereal, etc. Food shopping took 3 hours and 2 carts most of the time since there were so many mouths to be fed. Our appetites were big... Our family of Italian American athletes doesn't have the word "full" in our vocabulary.

I'll never forget my first cliff jumping experience at a hidden waterfall. What an adventure for a curious kid. My brothers discovered it after making friends with some local teens. We all biked there one morning and one by one we jumped into crystal clear waters that went 20+ feet deep. There was nothing that could cool us off better after an 8 mile journey to get there. Things are pretty widespread with minimal action in Vermont. I'm pretty sure my mother appreciated the company on these long bike rides, too.

Then there was the 4th of July celebrations. This holiday brought the most visitors to our tiny rural town. Our very wealthy neighbor across the lake used to host spectacular firework displays. I loved watching the colors paint the night skies and dress the still lake momentarily. The vivid colors, the sounds each of my sibling's made to express their amazement, my laughing parents... Each time I see the skies light up or hear my family members chuckle, a jolt of reminiscence travels through my bones.

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Today I noticed the beginning of changing colors on leaves in the city. September is upon us and I'm okay with that.